Of Frats, Rape Culture and #TFM

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Freshman year of college, as I was on my way to my first fraternity party, I remembered the rule: Don’t bring any guys. Only girls would be let in to drink the free “jungle juice,” concocted by the fraternity guys. Looking back, I now realize what this rule was for: more chances for the frat […]

Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape

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This is an excerpt from the cover story of the latest issue of Ms. magazine, now available on newsstands and by subscription digitally or in print. During her second weekend as a freshman on a California campus, Kerri accepted an offer from Mitch, a popular senior who held student office, to walk her back to her […]

The Rusty Taste of Shame

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The new issue of Ms. magazine is “Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape”–the title of the cover story by Occidental College professors Caroline Heldman and Danielle Dirks. Here, a professor at the University of Oregon joins the chorus of activists breaking the silence on sexual assaults—which 1 in 5 women students will experience in their […]

California Takes on Campus Rape — And So Does Ms.

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If a bill proposed in the California legislature passes and is signed into law, it won’t be enough for a campus sexual assault perpetrator to defend himself by claiming, “She didn’t say no!” Rather, he’ll have to prove that she said “Yes!” Co-authored by state Sen. Kevin de León, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) […]

Childhood Sex Abuse: Ending the Silence

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TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE What if every survivor of sexual abuse picked up the phone, called their abusers and confronted them like this woman did? (Or wrote an “open letter” in The New York Times like this woman did?) That would be a lot of calls. One in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have […]

Thank You, White House, for Taking on Violence Against Women

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President Obama’s administration has been plagued from the outset by Republicans’ persistent effort to chip away at women’s human rights. Two recent examples: In 2012, Republicans stalled the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for the first time since it was signed in 1994. In 2013, 70 measures to restrict access to abortion were […]

Supreme Court Will Decide on Re-Arming Domestic Abusers

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For a domestic violence victim, whether her partner owns a gun can be the difference between life and death. One in four women in the United States experiences domestic violence in her lifetime, and these women are five times more likely [PDF] to be murdered when their intimate partners own a firearm. Putting a gun in […]

Tell D.C. Police to Take Rape Seriously!

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[TRIGGER WARNING: STORY ON SEXUAL ASSAULT LEGISLATION] Marissa was raped in Washington, D.C., two years ago. The detective sent to investigate told her that bringing charges against the perpetrator would ruin the rapist’s life. He told her that her “words said no, but what about the other signals she was sending?” He said she did […]

U.N. Day Recognizes Violence Against Women

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I think it’s better to be a man because a woman always hears inappropriate comments from men. It happened to me at school. Teachers won’t give out your grades if you don’t sleep with them. When my friends apply for a job, if the employers are men, when they don’t give in to their advances […]

Steubenville Redux: Victim Blaming in a Florida Football Town

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“She’s just ruining Jameis’ good character.” That’s what I overhear a young mother, decked out in a garnet top and dream-catcher earrings, telling her teenage daughter at a Mexican restaurant here in Tallahassee. Her daughter, also clad in Florida State colors, nods in eager agreement. I cringe, glad that my toddler is too young to […]